Google has rules for the Play Store where apps can install other apps

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Google’s rules have long considered that the Play Store will not distribute third-party app stores, but this is the policy that prohibits apps from installing APKs unless the user agrees and malware is involved. There wasn’t. However, this is about to change as the new rules are aimed at this feature and are limited to a fairly narrow group of apps.

The change is April 2022 Developer Program Policy Update It also specifies that you can allow your app to install the APK only if some of the core features transfer the app package or allow the user to install the APK.

This effectively means that you only need the ability to install the APK in your app if it’s clearly needed by your app type (for example, a file manager or web browser). Counterexamples are games, podcast players, camera apps, and so on. You don’t have to install other apps yourself.

At the heart of this policy change is an Android OS privilege called REQUEST_INSTALL_PACKAGES that exists since Android 6.0 Marshmallow. If this permission is included in your app’s manifest, that is, your app declares that this feature is required, you can trigger an install request that asks the user to allow the APK installation to continue. Apps that do not declare this permission will not be affected by the policy. However, keep in mind that app developers need to make sure that the third-party libraries included with their app also do not have this permission, including ad networks.

Why is this rule added? Google hasn’t posted a description of the change, but it aims to thwart popular malicious tactics such as ad networks that try to install an APK on the device without directing users to the Play Store. There may be.

Google’s new policy lists a set of features and app types that are considered acceptable.

  • Web browsing or searching; also
  • A communication service that supports attachments.Also
  • File sharing, transfer, or management.Also
  • Enterprise device management.

Note that the requirements also specify that APK self-updating, modification, and bundling are prohibited. However, there are exceptions to device management. This usually fits into the area of ​​enterprise software and deployment tools.

Finally, the app needs a description of the Play Store, including a disclosure of the features that install the app and a description of the core features that use it.

The new policy is set to take effect on August 11, 2022. However, it’s not clear how these rules apply, whether the Play Store simply blocks updates to apps that include permissions, or whether existing apps will be private until the developer publishes them. A new version of the app. If you need history, Google usually prefers to remove the app first and then clean up the mess later. In short, app developers need to be as aggressive as possible to avoid complexity.

This policy change heats up following another announcement from the Play Store that older API-level apps will be hidden from search, and joins another announcement that establishes a stricter stance for children’s apps. increase.

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